Judicial Watch sues for White House visitor logs

The nonprofit conservative group Judicial Watch filed suit this week to get access to White House visitor logs from earlier this year.

The Secret Service has denied requests from the group and msnbc.com, which want to see who might be influencing public policy issues such as health care and the economy (see story by msnbc.com and a summary by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press).

While the White House now publishes select visitor logs online, Judicial Watch and journalists want access to logs from January through August. The Obama Administration has said it will release the logs voluntarily and that release is discretionary, even though several courts have ruled that they shall be made public.

If the Obama Administration truly values transparency, as promised on the president’s first day of office and through the Open Government Directive issued this week, then perhaps it might choose to follow those words with action and make the records public (as courts have ruled; It would be nice if the president followed the rule of law, too). Or is there something to hide? The public won’t know unless the records are released. Transparency dispels rumors and mistrust. Truth undercuts critics and builds public confidence.

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